Polycomís SoundPoint 301 is a hard phone, which uses the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for Voice over IP calls. It also supports MGCP. It is the lowest class IP phone produced by Polycom. Itís high price and difficult configuration makes it unsuitable for home use, however it is perfect for the large office.
When I started the phone for first time I had to go through the setup application that handles the first-time configuration. No big deal. It was quite easy to setup the network because I used DHCP. I rebooted the hard phone (after the configuration) and it took ages to load its configuration. During booting there were two points at which the display of the hard phone was acting weird Ė it wasnít displaying anything but few dots. At first I thought that the hard phone wasnít working but left it on my desk anyway, without restarting it. Later I resumed my work with it and found out that the hard phone has finished loading. This seemed somewhat strange. I rebooted the phone, never letting it out of sight. I understood that the hard phone boots up extremely slowly. I started the web configuration interface and found out that there is no possibility to reconfigure its network settings through it (the only way is through the hard phoneís menus). Configuring the SIP was no big deal, and soon the hard phone started to work properly. I didnít like the idea of Polycom designers to place most of the important options and settings only on the hard phone itself. There are no network options (such as DHCP, static IP, netmask or gateway), there is no firmware upgrade, no time setting (only through SNP).
I like the design of the SoundPoint 301, or most of it. The buttons are little hard to press and the navigation buttons should be located more to the top, but those are all faults that I found. The handset is quite heavy for an IP phone, and this makes it very comfortable. The display is working just fine (especially when you adjust its contrast). The three most important buttons were properly named (no icons, pictures or what so ever), and this makes them more functional. I like that there are two small buttons just below the numpad with which you can control the sound volume any time.
The configuration of the phone seems to be a bit challenging for its class, but I think that everybody with some experience will be able to handle it in couple of hours. The hard phone is perfect if there is someone to configure it for you. Its high price (160 to 190$) and hard configuration makes it unsuitable for home use. Its design and capabilities for booting configuration from a server (which helps every administrator who has to setup and control hundreds of phones) makes the Polycom SoundPoint 301 perfect for the office.